Friday 26 February 2021

Slow start: the Dutch had vaccinated 77,000 people by end Sunday


Public health institute RIVM is to publish weekly figures stating how many people have been vaccinated in the previous seven days every Tuesday from now on.

The Netherlands started its vaccination on January 6 and has been slow to get going, leading to criticism of the lack of urgency from both health experts and MPs.

The agency said on Tuesday that 77,000 people had been vaccinated up to and including Sunday, which puts the Netherlands firmly at the bottom of the vaccination rankings.

Those vaccinated so far include 40,000 people who work in acute care services and 30,000 nursing home staff. Nursing and care home residents are next in line and the family doctors association said earlier on Tuesday that GPs will start being vaccinated next week.

According to broadcaster NOS, some 400,000 doses of vaccine are currently being held at the central storage in Oss – enough for 200,000 people. But speeding up the vaccination rate is not an option because those vaccines have already been allocated, a spokesman for the RIVM’s vaccination programme told NOS.

‘We are not gambling on future deliveries,’ he said. ‘We want to be able to guarantee that people will actually be able to have their second shot.’

Both the Dutch and the European medicines assessment agencies recommend against delaying the second dose.

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